2001. Yeah, I’m going WAY WAY back. That was the year I graduated. Before cell phones were in every kids pocket. Before nobody had a “cordless phone.” Back then, WE WROTE. Folding letters into special shapes and handing it off between classes down the hall. Writing love notes to our crushes nervously anticipating when they will open it. Writing to your penpal across the country whom you’ve never met but seemed like you were long lost sisters. That is how I grew up pre-2001.
I moved A LOT throughout my childhood. I went to 4 different high schools my last 2 years. Throughout that time, I would send and receive postcards from my friend Angela. It was something so special to me that I hung on to every single one and adorned one of my bedroom walls with them. During school days, I would pass notes back and forth during breaks to my friend Lauren. We folded them up in hearts and arrows. It usually disclosed a bunch of gossip and BOYS. It was always about boys back then. *chuckle*
Speaking of boys, I met my husband on Match.com in March of 2011. I lived in Tennessee and he lived in Arizona. We would exchange emails and Skype sessions but what was special about our long distance dating was also the snail mail we would send each other. We would always include a handwritten note (usually on a post-it). It was something I would look forward to.
Handwritten dialogue is something I have cherished for years.
Because of technology today, I am able to connect with many different people. Some of them are like me where we just get each other when it comes to a handwritten note. Hand lettering, calligraphy and graphic artists fill my Instagram feed daily. Vanessa with V.Paperie reached out to me about her brand new specially curated monthly subscription boxes for those people who are LIKE ME and love a handwritten note and I am so excited I get to share with you all of the V.Paperie goodness!
When I first opened my box, it was a pleasant surprise to see a little note to me about the theme of the box. The note reads:
Its Time to Focus
Goodbye, tan lines. Summer is coming to an end.
Pack away the bathing suits and shake out the sand.
It’s time to focus on what matters.
What will you achieve?
Cooler nights are for dreaming big.
Have fun, plan smart, and get it done.
September is your time to shine.
When I ripped open the tissue paper and saw the goodies inside, I felt like it was my birthday. I felt like my BFF who knows me so well gave me the sweetest gift. Inside were custom cards, pencils, a note pad, a “Focus on Good” magnet, a pencil sharpener and an “its time to focus on what matters” journal. Tell me this isn’t just right up my alley!!!
V. Paperie is a subscription service that delivers special curated boxes filled with beautiful paper goods along with special calligraphy touches from Vanessa, the owner of V. Paperie. V. Paperie offer three subscription plan options:
All boxes are shipped on the first of the month. So if you are like me (put in my own order today!) and put in your order after the 1st, you will receive the next months box. And they do ship internationally! Don’t forget to use “WELCOME10” at checkout to receive 10% your order too!
- I feel like V. Paperie GETS me and what I like to the “T” – Hello sentimental-ness!
- Vanessa’s own calligraphy and design throughout the items
- All of them are hand selected by Vanessa, the owner
- You can never have TOO many cards IMO
- It feels like its my birthday every time I see a V. Paperie box show up
- The personalized touches each box has would make this a PERFECT gift
- Christmas is around the cooorrrrner!!! 😉
- Not only are some of her own products in here, she also works with other small handmade shops
- BLOGGERS: Having a scheduled box arrive with specialty products to accessorize your flatlays!
- The subscription service is priced right. I don’t think it’s too expensive and I feel like my money is spent well throughout the box of goodies.
- Helps to me to remember the art of a handwritten note
I recently read an article from Huffington Post about “9 Reason Not to Abandon the Art of a Handwritten Letter.” The reasons were:
- They create lasting memories
- They show how much you care
- They make you feel good
- They make every word count
- They spark creativity
- They require your undivided attention
- They require unplugging
- They honor tradition
- They are timeless
I think we all can agree how good it feels to receive a handwritten note. Knowing you were on someones mind… Knowing they didn’t forget about you… Means more than a typed email and well seeing that card in the mail… just. does. a. soul. good. Just some more reasons why surrounding yourself with positive, feel good, hand written products should be your jam.
Within this Huffington Post article I mention above, it also references another article: “6 Unexpected Ways Writing Can Transform Your Health.”
Within this article it helps breakdown how your thought process works while you write. From retaining information better to even transforming how you recover from an illness. Now that’s something to think about…
v. paperie is social!
Along with cards and paper products, I have found other tools to assist me with my handwriting obsession. My own handwriting is NOT the prettiest. In fact, I’m kind of embarrassed about it! So here are some products I’m also currently crushing on that help me in the handwriting / lettering department:
A: Creative Lettering and Beyond: Inspiring Tips, Techniques & Ideas for Hand Lettering Your Way to Beautiful Works of Art | $11.97 on Amazon
B: The Art of The Handwritten Note: Guide to Reclaiming Civilized Communication – Margaret Shepherd | $11.88 on Amazon
C: Hand lettering 101: An Introduction to the Art of Creative Lettering | $19.49 on Amazon
Like hand lettering? Love water color? Here are some quick accessories to help you practice your watercolor AND hand lettering skills.
A: Tombow Dual Brush Pens (IMO the BEST watercolor pens!) | $14.99 on Amazon
B: XL Watercolor Pad | $9.49 on Amazon
C: Last but definitely not least, the BEST! The Original Envelopmate to help you keep those addresses STRAIGHT! | $15.95 on Amazon
So back to V. Paperie.
I reached out to Vanessa to see if she would give me a bit of background on her budding new business of subscription boxes with a little interview. She happily obliged. This is her story.
Headshot by Zoe Rain
First, tell me a little bit more about yourself.
My name is Vanessa Herbert. I live in New Orleans, Louisiana, and have spent 95% of my life here. I lived a short time in Houston, and an even shorter time in New York, but always found my way back to New Orleans. My parents are from Ohio, and moved down south when my dad went to law school here in New Orleans at Tulane. I have two sisters, Jennifer (37) and Allison (27), and I fall right smack in the middle at 33. My older sister Jennifer, lives here in New Orleans with her husband, and is a social worker. My younger sister, Allison, lives in Chicago, where she just finished getting her masters in Psychology at the Chicago School of Psychology. I can’t talk about my family and not include my little man, Webster. He is my 7lb rescue dog that has been a part of our family for 9 years now. I work from home, and don’t have an “office type” environment, so pretty much all of my daily conversations, and big decision-making involves Webster 😉
I went to college at Louisiana State University and graduated with a degree in Graphic Design. After college, I worked at a stationery store for a short time, and fell in love with calligraphy and all things paper. I bought a Calligraphy book, and every single night for a months, I spent a couple of hours perfecting my calligraphy craft. I started doing wedding invitations and addressing envelopes for friends here and there, but nothing serious….maybe 3 weddings a year. After the stationery store job, I started working for a design firm that specialized in Website design. I loved it…..for 6 years to be exact, but missed the days of working with pen and paper, and designing cards and stationery. I was still randomly doing calligraphy jobs, and loved it so much, that I decided to leave my current job as a web designer and start doing calligraphy full-time. That’s where V. Calligraphy comes to play. Not knowing a thing about running my own business, or getting my own clients, it was the scariest yet most excited time of my life. That was 4 years ago, and now averaging about 85 weddings a year, I have never looked back!
Besides calligraphy, what are some of your hobbies or things you like to do in your spare time?
I live in one of the most excited cities in the world. There is never a weekend, or even a day for that matter, that something is not going on in New Orleans. I love music, and festivals, and there is never a shortage of either in this city. Because I work from home, and spend most of my time in my living room working, on my days off, there is no doubt I’m outside. If there’s a festival with good company and any kind of music, I’m there!
When did you know that you wanted to be in design?
My mother was a graphic designer….before anyone really knew what that even was. I remember when I was little, and it being completely normal to have a huge drafting table in our living room. While we watched cartoons and ate breakfast, my mom would be sitting at her table……painting, or drawing, or sketching, etc. We were surrounded by art, and it was so much fun! At any given point, I could go to that table and paint or draw. When I was in kindergarten, in art class, we were assigned to draw something….anything. While most drew rainbows and flowers, I was the weird kid who drew a repetitive design of squares and circles. My teacher called a meeting with my mom to discuss my ‘artwork’. She explained to my mom that this kind of drawing is not ‘normal’. My mom laughed, and said “I completely disagree with you. I think it’s beautiful!” So to answer your question, I knew all along that I would end up being a designer 😉
What inspires you the most for your designing?
One of the most common things my college roommate said to me was “Vanessa, you’re staring at that person! Stop staring!” I can’t help it….I’m a people watcher. I stare. I’m constantly taking things in. I know it sounds cliché, but I really do get my inspiration from my surroundings. The design on that one persons scarf, the color of her toenail polish, that little bird on the clip in that girl’s hair, the shade of blue on the car that just drove by….all of it. I’m constantly taking mental images. So, with all of that being said, if you ever see me in public, and catch me staring at you…its not because you have a piece of toilet paper stuck to your shoe, its most likely that I like the design on your shirt 😉
What made you want to start the subscription box apart from your calligraphy business?
Because my background is in Graphic Design, and I was doing Calligraphy full-time, I missed designing. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE doing calligraphy, but writing all day long everyday….I was itching to get back into designing. I was trying to figure out a way that I could do both. Should I work part-time at a stationary store? Should I open up an Etsy shop selling my designed stationery? My sister is a subscription box hoarder…..you name it, she at one point has gotten it. So, one day, while I was at her house, one of her many boxes showed up, and the idea kinda slapped me in the face. It was such an obvious solution to my problem. A stationery box with everything designed by me, ummm, YES!!! I went through the motions of what should be in the box….only cards? Only journal? Both? Should I design it all myself? Should I collaborate with other designers? Should it be monthly? Quarterly? It was about 5 months of solid planning that actually got my first V. Paperie box out in September!
Do you design everything that are in these boxes?
Each box is a mixture of both my designs and working with other companies including their products. The first box I shipped out, everything was designed by me, and it almost killed me, haha. It was a lot. The second box, I worked along with Rifle Paper Company and included one of their gorgeous journals. I want to have only the best quality products in my shipments, and even though I’m good at designing and calligraphy, book binding is not my strong point, haha, so I will leave the journals and notebooks up to the pros. I will always design the stationery cards that are included, that I can promise. I started this subscription box because I wanted to design, and nothing makes me happier than designing cards.
What is your favorite part about the whole process with V. Paperie?
As a designer, one of my favorite parts about V. Paperie is the freedom I get to have when putting together a box. Each month, I get to start over. New colors, new ideas, new theme, new designs. It really is so much fun for me to compare color swatches, pick out patterns and search for that item that would fit perfectly in that months box. I worked for a company for 6 years where I had clients that would tell me what they wanted, and to now have the freedom to pick and design EVERYTHING myself….sign me up. Also, hearing back from happy customers overrides all of that. There is always the uncertainty when you ship your boxes out….Will they like the theme? Are my designs not good? Should I have gone with stripes instead of polka dots? So to hear from V. Paperie subscribers that they are currently writing their best friend a birthday card that I designed, or they love the journal that was included in the box…it makes it all worth it!
Where do you see V. Paperie in a year?
That is a really tough question. So much has happened in just 3 short months with V. Paperie, that it’s really hard to tell where this could lead me a year from now. I guess all I can hope for is that this little idea of mine is still happening. I hope it grows beyond to something I can’t even imagine. In only 3 short months, I have met so many amazing business minded individuals who are so full of advice and tips and ideas, and I hope that continues, and I learn from them to make this box something truly unique. I hope that in one year, I can laugh at how at one point in the beginning, I was stacking my boxes on empty counter space in my kitchen. I hope that I people will still get as excited to open their V. Paperie boxes each month as I do putting them together!
What is one tip on how you balance your two businesses (Calligraphy + Subscription Boxes) in addition to your personal life?
When I first stared, that was a VERY tough transition. For the first two months, I didn’t have a system at all. I worked calligraphy for some part of the day, and then would work on V. Paperie. I worked all day, there was no stopping. It was chaotic and messy, and there was absolutely no structure at all. My house was a wreck, my laundry would pile up, my fridge was NEVER fully stocked, hanging out with friends….forget about it. Complete chaos. I needed structure. I needed to treat these two different businesses exactly as that….TWO DIFFERENT BUSINESSES. I was merging the two, and couldn’t really separate myself from them. So now, I split the month into two. The first part of the month is V. Calligraphy, and the second part of the month is V. Paperie. I actually have two desk where Calligraphy is done on one, and V. Paperie is done on the other. I have planned out each day exactly what needs to get done, so when I wake up, I know, ‘Ok, today, I have to address 75 envelopes, and go to the grocery store’, or ‘OK, today, I need to research what journal I’ll have in this months box, as well as design one Thank You card’. It’s still all very new to me, and I am still learning what works and what doesn’t. I think it will be awhile until I have a system down, but to sum up my answer to your question; What is one tip on how to balance both V. Paperie and V. calligraphy? Structure.
Whether you are NEW to hand-lettering or a straight up pro, I hope you enjoyed this little post about something I hold near to my heart. And REMEMBER, don’t forget that discount code when you sign up for V. Paperie!